Owner rejoices after historic sign is returned - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Owner rejoices after historic sign is returned

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It's a landmark sign that's been around for decades, but last month, the "El Oeste Lodge" sign vanished overnight from one of the oldest condominium complexes in the valley.

Today, that sign is back where it belongs.

Last month, Mary MJ Staymates, who put so much work into the property, pleaded for the sign's return.

MJ Staymates loves her El Oeste Lodge, but she never knew just how much the old steel sign meant to her until it was gone, stolen more than three weeks ago. Well now the sign is back.

"I just was almost speechless and I'm never almost speechless," she laughs.

Phoenix Police petitioned local media to try to track down the 70-year-old missing piece of Phoenix history, and went through the motions of filing a report.

"I didn't have a lot of hope and I know she didn't either," says Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes.

"I was so upset I was losing sleep over the stupid thing," says Staymates.

When it comes to the loss of personal property, police don't like to give people false hope. They don't recover stuff often, so you can imagine their surprise when they found the sign just sitting next to a dumpster just a few miles down the road.

"The friend sees the sign in the back of the truck and basically says 'oh my goodness everybody in the world is looking for that sign right now!'" says Holmes.

The alert cyclists who first saw the wayward sign don't want to be identified -- the satisfaction of lending a helping hand was enough. But Staymates wanted them to know the service they provided was priceless.

"II just can't believe it and I'm so grateful I don't know what else to say I just can't believe it," she says.

Staymates told us the response from the community was overwhelming -- she even had a sign maker offer to create a new El Oeste Lodge sign.

She and her family are thrilled the piece of history is back home.

Follow this story: Owner wants historic lodge's sign returned

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